Running consistently helps to decrease your risk for getting injured while providing a host of health benefits. By sticking to a routine, you will eventually find yourself running further for longer – and enjoying it! The key is to find a routine that fits into your lifestyle, and to just get started. Besides, running at a set time every day can provide a great opportunity to clear your head, help you decompress from the day, or even give you natural energy for the rest of your day.
There are so many short and long term health benefits that running regularly can provide that there’s no better reason to start. So if you’re ready to make some positive changes, let’s get started on your journey towards building your consistent running schedule.
How to build a consistent running schedule
Studies say that running for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week is the minimum effort needed to see benefits. This applies to healthy individuals who are not injured or recovering from an injury. Anyone who wants to run for recovery and is asking questions like “Can I still run with plantar fasciitis?” should do some prior research and consult a health professional.
That said, keep in mind that the minimum hours per week spent running needed to see improvements will depend on the runner’s personal goals – be it weight loss, endurace, speed improvements, or for other reasons. Below are some general suggestions to keep in mind when you are building a running schedule.
- Examine your habits: Wanting to start a running routine is easy – sticking to it is less so. Many great runners who have successful running schedules can swear by finding a routine that works for them. This means that if you’re not a morning person, don’t make yourself suddenly start waking up at 5 AM to run. Go after work instead. You want to make sure your scheduled running times fit comfortably into your lifestyle, or risk dropping out when you feel like it has become a dreaded chore.
- Pay attention to what your body needs: If you have sudden or increasing pain as a result of running, don’t ignore it. Rather than running through the pain and risk developing more complications, seek immediate professional attention. If you treat a sore spot early, you may only need to rest for a week, get a massage, or foam-roll.
- Set realistic goals: Are you running for recovery? To improve your speed? Increase your endurance? Deciding on attainable running goals and doing the appropriate exercises will keep you motivated while you get more efficient and more used to running consistently. You should seek out someone more experienced, look for reputable online guides, or even hire a personal trainer to help you find targeted workouts that work towards your health goals.
How to stay motivated on a running schedule
- Gamification: Turn your repetitive running routine into a game with a handy app. Games like Zombies, Run!, Charity Miles, Run An Empire, and Stepbet are immersive simulation-type games that reward you for your runs. Stay motivated by collecting items for survival, competing to win real-world money, or grow an empire – all from the comfort of an app. And to use these apps, you will need to own a smartphone or smartwatch. For a more straightforward yet high-performing watch, try Coros watches that have cadence sensors, stride length calculators, GPS and more.
- Run with people: If you’re quite the socialite, running with friends, housemates, colleagues, or in a running club meetup might be just the thing to keep you going. Plus, running in a group setting can provide some structure and added motivation. And if you prefer to run with earphones in, you might even choose a popular trail to run alongside other people without having to socialise, all while having the benefit of running with likeminded people.
- Set a goal with a deadline: You can try setting an end goal that breaks up your running routine. For instance, you can aim to join a marathon, compete in a charity run, or join a group of more experienced runners at the end of a 2 month running schedule. Marking the days off a calendar can also help you visualise the end goal.
- Dress to impress: You’ll be surprised how wearing some great quality running gear can make you feel your best out there. Bonus points for stylish running apparel that catches the eye of someone you run past on your trail. Pure Running is an Australian online running store that stocks a bunch of top quality running gear. You might want to invest in some handy running belts to store all your running snack bars and energy gels, or stock up on some affordable yet high-performing Goodr running sunglasses that all the runners are raving about.
- Spice up your workouts: Running can sometimes be monotonous. Avoid plateauing by regularly switching up your running trail, throwing in some tempo runs or strength-building activities, stopping at a new cafe, or taking breaks on days where you don’t run.
Running for yourself
It might seem like there’s too much you have to do before you start building a running schedule. But in reality, you just have to find what works for you and give yourself reasons to keep going. Everything listed above are tried and true methods suggested to help you get started, as it could definitely benefit you to find friends or coaches to help you stay motivated.
Just keep in mind that you are running to reach your personal goals before you start obsessively comparing your stats or pace with fellow runners. And who knows? One day you might find yourself enjoying the scent of the grassy trail and be proud of where you’ve arrived.